During Small Business Week, Sept. 22-24, the Internal Revenue Service wants individuals to consider taking the home office deduction if they qualify. The benefit may allow taxpayers working from home to deduct certain expenses on their tax return.

The home office deduction is available to qualifying self-employed taxpayers, independent contractors and those working in the gig economy. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended the business use of home deduction from 2018 through 2025 for employees. Employees who receive a paycheck or a W-2 exclusively from an employer are not eligible for the deduction, even if they are currently working from home.

Qualifying for a deduction

There are two basic requirements to qualify for the deduction. The taxpayer needs to use a portion of the home exclusively for conducting business on a regular basis and the home must be the taxpayer’s principal place of business.

To claim the deduction, a taxpayer must use part of their home for one of the following:

  • Exclusively and regularly as a principal place of business for a trade or business

  • Exclusively and regularly as a place where patients, clients or customers are met in the normal course of a trade or business

  • As a separate structure that's not attached to a home that is used exclusively and regularly in connection with a trade or business

  • On a regular basis for storage of inventory or product samples used in a trade or business of selling products at retail or wholesale

  • For rental use

  • As a daycare facility

The term "home" for purposes of this deduction:

  • Includes a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat or similar property

  • Includes structures on the property, like an unattached garage, studio, barn or greenhouse

  • Doesn’t include any part of the taxpayer’s property used exclusively as a hotel, motel, inn or similar business

Qualified expenses

Deductible expenses for business use of home normally include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, casualty losses, utilities, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. In general, a taxpayer may not deduct expenses for the parts of their home not used for business; for example, expenses for lawn care or painting a room not used for business.

Claiming the deduction

A taxpayer can use either the regular or simplified method to figure the home office deduction.

Using the regular method, qualifying taxpayers compute the business use of home deduction by dividing expenses of operating the home between personal and business use. Self-employed taxpayers filing IRS Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship) first figure this deduction on Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of

Your Home.

Using the Simplified Option, qualifying taxpayers use a prescribed rate of $5 per square foot of the portion of the home used for business (up to a maximum of 300 square feet) to figure the business use of home deduction. A taxpayer claims the deduction directly on IRS Schedule C. Revenue Procedure 2013-13 (PDF) provides complete details of this safe harbor method.

Daycare facilities

Taxpayers who use their home on a regular basis for providing daycare may be able to claim a deduction for part of the home even if it is used as the same space for nonbusiness purposes. To qualify, both of the following requirements must be met:

  • The business must provide daycare for children, people age 65 or older, or people who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

  • The business must have applied for, been granted, or be exempt from having a license, certification, registration, or approval as a daycare center or as a family or group daycare home under state law.

Additional resources

On today’s update of COVID-19, the number of new active cases, on Hawaii Island, reported and monitored by the Department of Health is thirteen (13). At this date, for Hawaii Island, sixteen (16) are hospitalized. The Hilo Medical Center reports the addition of one death today for a total of twenty-eight (28) for Hawaii Island. The fatality is from the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home. Our sincere gratitude for their service to the country and prayers and condolences to their families.

To support efforts at the Veterans Home, an eighteen person team from the Veterans Administration is at the facility to support operations. Bi-weekly testing continues as officials work to contain the spread of the virus in the home. A grateful thank you to the Veterans Administration for their assistance and response to the Veterans Home.

For your information, two Coronavirus drive-up test sites are scheduled today. The First, in Hilo at the Afook-Chinen Auditorium from 9 this morning ‘til 1 this afternoon. The second in North Kona at the Keauhou Shopping Center. Hours are from 9:00 this morning ‘til noon. Remember the purpose of testing is to identify positive cases as early as possible and in this way help stop the spread of the virus.

Please accept this kuleana to make Hawaii Safe. Only together, can we stop the spread of the virus to keep our family, friends, and community safe.

Thank you for listening and have a safe day.

This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

City and County of Honolulu News Release: Mayor Kirk Caldwell has ordered Honolulu Hale to be lit in the color White from Wednesday September 23, to Friday September 25, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lay in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the U.S. Capitol Building. White represents light, openness, fairness, hope, and Justice Ginsburg represented all of these in abundance.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg forever changed the United States of America for the better. She did this by fighting for equality for all, and by standing up for the rights of both women and men,” said Mayor Caldwell. “For decades she was well known in the legal community, but in her later years became a cultural icon. I can think of no one more deserving of our respect, and our admiration for her decades of work for our country and community.”

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